Google Axes Third-Party Reviews

July 26, 2011

Millions of business owners are outraged about the new Google Places update, which removes all of your hard earned reviews from websites like Yelp, City Search, and Angie's List. The outrage is well justified because many business owners have spent months, or even years, collecting positive reviews from their clients -- now these reviews will be largely invisible to people who use Google. This move comes as a surprise even to well established marketing experts and it has sparked further allegations of antitrust lawsuits.

Fortunately, Google has also been fixing their own unwieldy review system to make it easier for your clients to review you directly through Google Places, and regardless of whether or not you like Google, you'd be smart to start collecting reviews on their system.

For less established chiropractic clinics, this change can be spun in a beneficial light! Your competitors have likely lost more reviews than you and it will take them more time to adjust to the new system, which gives you an opportunity to take the lead in terms of rankings. My advice is: create a link on your website to your Google Places listing and print up cards with a direct link (use a URL shortener if necessary) and incentivize your clients to write reviews. Studies have universally shown that your response rates will be much higher if yo offer something valuable in return for their time, so I recommend offering movie tickets. Why movie tickets? Because you'll be offering them an experience, which they will then associate with you, and when they talk about the movie with their friends they'll inevitably bring your clinic up in the conversation. You might as well double your returns!

That's all for now, but I recommend checking back in a week or two for more detailed analysis and strategies. We'll also be releasing a new Search Engine Optimization eBook in August, which you can download for free right here! The eBook will address all of the major search engine changes that have occurred over the last six months and we'll provide clear action items for how to improve your rankings.